Mexican boxing icon Julio Cesar Chavez is getting the bio drama TV series treatment.
The winner of six world titles in three weight divisions is partnering with Disney Media Distribution Latin America, Mexico’s TV Azteca and shingle BTF Media to produce a 26-episode drama series about his life and stellar career in the ring. The series is expected to debut in April or May of next year, said Fernando Barbosa, senior VP and general manager of DMDLA.
In the U.S., the drama will air on Telemundo.
“El Cesar” will shoot on location in Chavez’s native town of Culiacan, Sinaloa as well as Mexico City and Los Angeles. His favorite music, Nortenos, will be a key component of the storytelling.
“El Cesar” will tell the story Mexico’s boxing idol who remained undefeated for more than 13 years in the 1980s and ’90s, but fell from a life of privilege, fame and fortune into the netherworld of drug dealers, addictions and scandal that destroyed his career and nearly took his life. He retired from boxing in 2005.
The show has been sold across Latin America and will air on pay TV network Space Latin America.
“The life of Julio Cesar Chavez, a legendary idol from the world of boxing, will be of great interest not only for U.S. Hispanics who saw him succeed as a world champion, but also for a whole new generation of Latinos in this country,” said Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser.
This is Disney Media’s second bio drama series following the upcoming “Hasta Que Te Conocí (Until I Met You),” which traces the early years of Mexican crooner Juan Gabriel in Ciudad Juarez and his journey to becoming one of Latin America’s most successful singer-songwriters. That project was produced as a 15-episode series and a 90-minute special, depending on the broadcaster’s preference.
Gabriel is a partner in the series along with Disney Media and SOMOS Productions. TNT acquired Pay TV distribution rights for Latin America while Telemundo picked up U.S. Hispanic rights and TV Azteca for Mexico. Series is set to bow in mid-April.
“Mexican content is king and these two idols are huge among the masses,” said Barbosa.
The bio drama TV genre has been trending in Latin America in recent years, especially about music icons. Colombia’s RCN made musical biopic “Celia,” about the salsa diva Celia Cruz, which Telemundo aired in the U.S.
RCN saw early success in the genre with 2012’s “El Joe, La Leyenda,” based on the life of the late Joe Arroyo and “Diomedes, El Cacique de la Junta,” which revolves around the life of late vallenato star Diomedes Días.
Mexican market leader Televisa recently made “En la vida de… Joan Sebastian,” 18 hourlong episodes about the late multi-Grammy winning Mexican singer Joan Sebastian, his tumultuous life and prolific career.
Disney Media Distribution Latin America has been active in Spanish-language production in recent years, delivering Spanish-language renditions of ABC hits “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” among other programs.